Senior Director of Strategic Advocacy
Rachel Ruffalo (she/her) serves as the Senior Director of Strategic Advocacy at the Education Trust—West. Rachel’s career in education spans more than twenty-five years of serving as a teacher, new school developer, school leader, strategy consultant, researcher, and advocate. Through these various roles, Rachel has been committed to pursuing equity and social justice through education. As a first-generation college student, Rachel experienced the transformative power of education within her own family.
Rachel began her career as a high school history teacher at her alma mater, Gilroy High School, going on to serve as a founding teacher, school leader, and strategy consultant for Environmental Charter Schools (ECS), an independent charter school network serving primarily Black and Latinx students living in poverty in Los Angeles County. As a school leader, Rachel led ECS’ institutional effectiveness work, including accreditation, charter renewal, program evaluation, and the development of the English Language Development program. Later, as a strategy and development consultant, Rachel contributed to the growth of the network of schools by researching and adapting research-based best practices to develop and improve new schools and programs.
Rachel joined The Education Trust—West in April 2017 and has served as a Senior Practice Associate and Director of Educator Engagement. Rachel has led ETW’s STEM equity strategy and has deepened the organization’s multilingual learner advocacy. With her team, Rachel has grown ETW’s engagements to include the Educator Advisory Council, communities of practice, and engagements with county offices of education, while continuing to improve and build upon ETW’s long history of systemic equity reviews and blueprint planning processes with school districts. These engagements with educators have become central to informing ETW’s policy priorities and monitoring the implementation and impact of state policies on educators and students.
Rachel holds a B.A. in history, an M.A. in education (Policy, Organization, and Leadership Studies) from Stanford University, and an M.Ed. in teaching and curriculum from Harvard University.